Zesty and creamy, mini lemon cheesecakes are easy to make and a total crowd pleaser! They are perfect for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, bridal showers, or any special occasion.
We are welcoming the warmer weather with open arms around here! Recently we made caramel ice cream, and now I’m introducing you to these cuties!
When I first started baking from scratch, mini cheesecakes were one of the first treats I ever made. It was just for my mom’s birthday, but everyone loved them so much, I ended up making them again! I made them for friends, coworkers, and a boy I was dating at the time (he didn’t deserve it, though). So, I knew I had to share this recipe for mini lemon cheesecakes on the blog!
What you’ll love most about this recipe is the simplicity. No spring form pan, no water bath, none of the typical stuff that comes with a full sized cheesecake. They’re cute, bite sized, and, most importantly, freaking delicious!
- Graham crackers – Our cheesecakes have a classic Graham cracker crust. I used plain Graham crackers but you can try cinnamon or honey flavored or whatever floats your boat.
- Unsalted butter – Melted butter acts as a binder for the crust.
- Ground cinnamon – This one is optional; it just adds a little extra flavor.
- Granulated sugar – To sweeten the crust; we also use granulated sugar in the cheesecake filling.
- Cream cheese – Be sure to buy the brick/block style cream cheese, and not the spreadable kind that comes in a tub. You’ll need one whole 8 ounce brick and half of one 8 ounce brick.
- Sour cream – For tang.
- Fresh lemon juice & lemon zest – This is where the lemon flavor comes in. Do not use pre-packaged lemon juice.
- Pure vanilla extract – Our favorite flavor enhancer.
- All purpose flour – Okay, please don’t kill me LOL. We’re literally only using a teaspoon to prevent any cracks. Our mini cheesecakes will still be delicious and oh-so-creamy.
- Large eggs – For a smooth and rich texture.
The best cream cheese for mini lemon cheesecakes
At the risk of sounding completely obnoxious, I always recommend using Philadelphia brand cream cheese for homemade cheesecakes. This recipe is not sponsored by them, their product just tends to hold up the best in cheesecakes.
How to make mini lemon cheesecakes from scratch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking tin with cupcake liners. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted unsalted butter. Mix together until it’s a similar texture to wet sand. Spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture into each liner, then use the back of a small spoon to gently press it in. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven (be sure to keep the oven on, though).
- In a large mixing bowl, beat room temperature cream cheese and sugar on medium high speed until creamy. Next, beat in sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and flour until well combined. Last, on medium speed, beat in the eggs until just combined. Be careful not to over beat. The batter should be thick but still a little runny.
- Pour about one and a half tablespoons of the batter into each liner. Gently shake the pan to smooth the tops, then bake for 18-20 minutes. The cheesecakes are finished when the edges are set but the centers are slightly jiggly.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes, before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight to set.
This is a result of using cold ingredients. Cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, and any other dairy should always be softened to room temperature for perfect cheesecake. Take them out of the fridge at least an hour before you start baking.
Cheesecake gets grainy when it’s overcooked or it’s cooked at too hot of a temperature. So, be sure to watch your time carefully.
This can sometimes happen when baking a cheesecake in a water bath. Good thing there’s no water bath needed for this recipe!
When the edges are set but the centers are just ever so slightly jiggly. It’s almost like baking chocolate chip cookies; you don’t want it to actually look completely done when you take it out of the oven.
After being removed from the oven, cheesecake needs to cool for at least 30 minutes before being placed in the refrigerator to set overnight. You can’t rush this process.
Topping Ideas & How to Store Leftovers
These cheesecakes are fabulous topped with lemon curd and homemade whipped cream. If you’ve never made stabilized whipped cream before, here is the easy recipe that I used.
You can also top your little cakes with fresh fruit or crumbled cookies. Cover leftover cakes individually with plastic wrap. They’ll last in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
So not only is this dessert heavenly, silky, easy, and out-of-this-world good, it’s also make ahead! Future you will be very happy 🙂
Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 cup (100 grams) graham cracker crumbs
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 12 ounces (one and 1/2 brick) block cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon (79 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (61 grams) sour cream room temperature
- 1/4 cup (59 mililiters) fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (6 grams) lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs (57 grams) room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 177 degrees C). Line a baking tin with paper liners, set aside. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, salt, cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter. Mix together well until it resembles wet sand. Add about a tablespoon of the mixture to each liner, then use the back of a spoon to press the crust firmly into the liner. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat softened cream cheese and granulated sugar on medium high speed until creamy. Next, beat in sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and flour until well combined. Lastly, add the eggs and beat on medium speed until just combined with the mixture. Be careful not to over mix. The batter should be thick but still pourable.
- Pour about one and a half tablespoons of batter into each liner. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges are set and the centers are just slightly jiggly. Remove from the oven and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let set in the refrigerator overnight. Serve with your favorite toppings.
- Make sure your dairy is at room temperature. Let cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs sit outside of the fridge for at least an hour before baking.
- Greek yogurt may be used in place of sour cream.
- Do not use pre-packaged lemon juice.
- Nutrition facts are only an estimate.